Biotech Updates

High GABA Tomato Determined as Non-GM in the Philippines

May 29, 2024

Photo Source: Sanatech Seed

The Philippine Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) released a Certificate of Non-coverage from JDC No. 01 s.2021 for gene-edited high GABA Silician Rouge Tomato developed by Japan-based Sanatech Seed Co., LTD.

High GABA tomato was first released by Sanatech in Japan in 2021. It was developed using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to contain high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that helps lower blood pressure. The gene-edited tomato has four to five times more GABA than conventional tomato varieties.

Based on the scientific evidence provided by the developer, DA-BPI officially determined the gene-edited tomato as a non-genetically modified organism (GMO), thus it will not go through the regulatory pathway in evaluating the biosafety of GMOs in the country, guided by the DOST-DA-DENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular No. 01 s. 2021. BPI's decision to grant the non-coverage certificate was based on the Technical Consultation for Evaluation and Determination procedure stated in the DA Memorandum Circular No. 08 s.2022, which tackles the rules and regulations for evaluating products of plant breeding innovations. High GABA tomato is the second gene-edited crop that has been determined as non-GMO in the Philippines. The first one was granted to reduced browning banana developed by Tropic.

The certificate was issued by DA-BPI on May 2, 2024, and signed by DA-BPI Director Dr. Gerald Glenn Panganiban.

Visit the DA-BPI website or read the media release from Sanatech Seed for more information.

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